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Lewis: Proposed teen rehab center could be a model for others

Daytop officials said their center was well accepted in Mendham, one of the nation's seven most affluent communities. An average three-bedroom home in Mendham, they said, is worth $1 million.

Zeger said that the Daytop center's operating costs are paid by a combination of sources. About 81 percent of the money comes from state and federal programs underwriting rehabilitation, 14 percent comes from insurance company and HMO reimbursement, four percent from public assistance, and one percent from families paying directly for the treatment.

No portion of the sum goes toward a mortgage, as a religious organization leases the spacious plot of land and buildings to Daytop for $1 per year.

Although Daytop officials offered a financial outline Thursday, apparently Lewis had not shared his financial plans for the proposed facility with Essex County supervisors, as those officials attending a Ways and Means Committee meeting Monday said they were in the dark.

"Is he financially going to back this situation? Is he looking for the county just to endorse it? Is he looking for the county to build it?" asked Randy Douglas, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors. "I don't have the answers to all of those questions."

North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi, chair of the county Ways and Means Committee, aired a similar view.

"It is somewhat premature at this time to be considering anything other than the conceptual overview," he said.

At the very least, Lewis was indeed seeking to garner support for the concept of a local treatment center. Routinely in New York State, municipal and community support of proposed health care facilities must be documented and submitted to the state and federal agencies before the centers or clinics are approved or granted a license to operate.

At the same time, another question looms: the facility's location.

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